Truck Crash in Death Valley Spilled Liquid Asphalt

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – A tractor trailer crashed in Death Valley National Park on July 17, 2023 releasing emulsified asphalt. Commercial trucks are prohibited on Mud Canyon Road, partially due to the steep grades.

A NPS employee digs holes to contain emulsified asphalt. Photo: NPS

The truck’s brakes failed while descending from Daylight Pass. The driver downshifted but was unable to stop the truck. It crashed on the shoulder of Mud Canyon Road, about 2 ½ miles east of North Highway.

The driver was uninjured. Park visitors picked him up and drove him to cell phone service to report the accident.

National Park Service (NPS) employees responded to the scene to contain the 5,000 gallons of emulsified asphalt and 150 gallons of diesel released when the truck crashed. The trucking company is cooperating with the NPS to remove the wreck and clean up the site.

Charges are pending.

NPS employee dug holes to contain the emulsified asphalt. Photo: NPS

Photo of oil on road in Death Valley

Emulsified asphalt released by the wrecked trailer tank. Photo: NPS

MAIN IMAGE // Wrecked tractor trailer on the side of Mud Canyon Road. Photo: NPS

Truck Crash in Death Valley

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Truck Crash in Death Valley